While people in the Indian state of Bihar are struggling to purchase alcohol following a state-wide ban that was imposed a year ago, rodents in police stations are on a high. Policemen claim the seized alcohol, stocked in store rooms, is apparently being consumed by rats.

When questioned during a recent meeting about missing alcohol from police storage, officials replied that "liquor-loving rats" had gulped down a large part of the nearly one million litres of seized alcohol lying in the police warehouses.

The liquor was seized over the past one year from individuals who were found flouting the state-wide ban, which was imposed by the state government in April 2016. An inquiry has been launched into the missing liquor bottles and the unusual reason presented by the police officials.

The issue of missing alcohol reportedly came to light through media reports. The reports stated that police and excise department in the state ran a major anti-alcohol campaign in the state following the April ban and seized a total of 915,000 litres of domestic as well as foreign-made liquor from individuals, but most of it went missing.

"With the rats running riot and the men in uniform not above suspicion, policemen in police stations would now be subjected to random breath analyser test to check whether they too had a swig or two of the confiscated booty," Manu Maharaj, Patna Senior Superintendent of Police told the Press Trust of India on Thursday (4 May).

Maharaj reportedly met Deputy Inspector General of Police Rajesh Kumar and said that they are working towards acquiring legal permission to destroy seized liquor at regular intervals to prevent accumulation of large quantities in police storage. He added that they could also recommend regular audit of the storage rooms in police stations.

"We have asked Patna zonal IG [Inspector General] to inquire into the matter," additional director-general of police (Headquarters) S K Singhal told the news agency. "Based on his findings, the state police headquarters would initiate further action."

Meanwhile, two policemen - Nirmal Singh and Shamsher Khan - were arrested on Thursday after being found in a drunken state on duty.